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Iris Noble Papers

Identifier: DG0738

Scope and Contents

This collection is divided into three series, correspondence, books, and unpublished or unidentified works. The collection consists primarily of a combination of typescripts, proofs and galleys for 21 of Ms. Noble's books, most of which are for her biographies. Three of the books in the collection, however, are fictional and based on historical fact or events. The titles are arranged alphabetically with the materials for each title organized in the probable order in which they were created.

Ms. Noble's biographies make up a large majority of the collection. She wrote mainly about American men and women and the professions they made famous. Much of her work was published simultaneously in the U.S. and Canada by J. Messner. Cameras and Courage: Margaret Bourke-White (1973), Nurse Around the World: Alice Fitzgerald (1964), and Contemporary Women Scientists (1979) are all biographies of famous women from around the world. Emmeline and Her Daughters: The Pankhurst Suffragettes (1971), Israel's Golda Meir (1972), Empress of All Russia: Catherine the Great (1966), Spain's Golden Queen Isabella (1969), and Susan B. Anthony (1975) are all biographies of famous women political figures.

The Honor of Balboa (1970), about the first European to see the Pacific Ocean is just one of the many books Ms. Noble wrote about famous men in history. She also wrote Firebrand for Justice: A Biography of Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1969), Fredrick Law Olmsted: Park Designer (1974), Labor's Advocate: Eugene v. Debs (1966), Leonardo Da Vinci: The Universal Genius (1965), Master Surgeon: John Hunter (1971), and Rivals in Parliament: William Pitt and Charles Fox (1970).

Ms. Noble has also written three other non-fiction books for young adults by various publishers, Interpole: International Crimefighter (1974), Life on the Line: Alternative Approaches to Work (1977), and Treasure of the Caves: The Story of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1971). Life on the Line: Alternative Approaches to Work (1977) discusses experimental labor programs and how world governments combat job dissatisfaction among workers.

Three of the books in the collection are fictional and based on historical fact or events. Courage in Her Hands (1967) is about Melinda, a Russian colonist at Fort Ross, California who fought the Spanish over the sea-otter trade. Megan(1965) is about a Welsh orphan who travels to Canada. It takes place at Crows' Nest Pass, the ranch where Ms. Noble spent her childhood. Mahmud's Story: The Journal of a Palestinian Refugee (1976) is a "personal, true account" of a Palestinian boy growing up in the Middle East and discussing his feelings towards the government, the military, and area religions.

The remaining items in the collection include correspondence with the de Grummond Collection and two typescripts, "Bridger's Boy" and "Island on the Border", both of which were not identified and may be unpublished.


  • 1964-1979

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; Available for research

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Reproductions can be made only if they are to be used for "private study, scholarship, or research." It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.

Biographical / Historical

Iris Noble was born February 22, 1922 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to American parents and lived on a horse ranch. She reclaimed her American citizenship at eleven when she and her parents moved to Portland, Oregon. She majored in English at the University of Oregon and after graduation she moved to Los Angeles to work as a secretary at a radio station while taking a few graduate classes at Stanford University. She also worked as a publicity director for a dinner theater before marrying Hollister Noble, also an author, in 1941. When they moved to New York City, Ms. Noble began her free-lance career writing magazine articles and later books.

Although Ms. Noble wrote quite a few fictional stories, she is probably most noted for her biographies for young adults. She would often travel to Asia, Europe, Africa, or the Middle East to research a person or topic for one of her stories. She was recognized by the Commonwealth of California in 1962 for First Ambulance Surgeon: Emily Barringer (1962). In 1983, Tingambato: Adventure in Archeology (1982) was awarded a silver medal by the New York Academy of Sciences. Another famous biography, Joseph Pulitzer: A Front Page Pioneer (1957), has since been translated into over 5 languages. She died on June 30, 1986 in Patzcuaro, Mexico.


Something About the Author, vol. 5, pp. 142-143.

Something About the Author, vol. 49, p. 173.

Contemporary Authors, NR, vol. 2, p. 508.


5.70 Cubic Feet (19 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material was donated by Iris Noble from 1966 to 1980.

Iris Noble Papers
In Progress
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the de Grummond Childrens Literature Collection Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001